What does accessibility mean to you? #MadeForMe

A group from Warwickshire is channeling its frustrations over online accessibility into new campaign #MadeForMe that sets out to level the playing field for people of all abilities to access the places, spaces and communities they want to post-lockdown.

Warwickshire Empowerment Service (WES), commissioned at Grapevine by Warwickshire County Council, doubles up as a space for disabled people to speak up about the issues that matter to them and have a say in local decision-making, and a place where people can connect from across the county.

In many ways, the pandemic has brought WES members from different towns and villages closer together online than distance would usually allow. It’s through this regular connection that a common theme around isolation and accessibility emerged.

WES members found during lockdown that while they could take a tour of museums through the virtual world, there were still a few barriers that made the experience less enjoyable than it might be for people who don’t have a disability.

An illustration of people of different abilities holding banners that campaign for accessibility and disability rights

Now they’re taking their fight for disability and accessibility rights direct to museum web teams and diversity champions to help highlight areas for potential improvement and offer ‘expert by experience’ advice on achieving greater inclusion for all. More to come on this soon.

In the meantime while the campaign gathers pace, WES is asking people to follow, like and share their page on Facebook @madeformewarks and join them for their first Ideas Factory, online on Tuesday 8 June. This is where people can meet the team behind the campaign and help generate some brilliant ideas and action together.

Follow this link to sign up.

A woman wearing a coat and handbag smiles at the camera in a bar
Anne, WES member

Anne’s story

I’m Anne. I’m visually impaired and have learning difficulties. Vehicles being parked on the pavement makes walking inaccessible to me. When I’m walking down the street and come across a vehicle parked on the pavement I have to find a way to get round it myself or wait for someone. Sometimes I have to go onto the road, which is dangerous. This makes me feel anxious, frustrated and stressed – I just want to walk safely without changing my route or relying on others.

I want the law to change so people don’t park on the pavement. This is an issue for people with assistance dogs, people who use wheelchairs, people who have a pushchair and people being guided by others. It affects a lot of people.

Pavements are #MadeForMe – not for cars.

A man wearing sungalsses sits on a wall in a park and smiles at the camera
Ian, WES member

Ian’s story

My name is Ian and I have a hidden disability. When you look at me, you wouldn’t know that I’m disabled.

Hidden disabilities affect a lot of people and it can be hard for others to understand our needs. Not everyone takes the time to understand me. We want everyone to be accessible and welcoming, whether you can see our disability or not!

Not every disability is visible.